What Makes Tires Grip the Road On a Rainy Day?

A team of scientists from Italy and Germany has recently developed a model to predict the friction occurring when a rough surface in wet conditions (such as a road on a rainy day) is in sliding contact with a rubber material (such as a car tire tread block) in an article to be published shortly in the Springer journal EPJE.

In their study, B.N.J. Persson from the Jülich Research Center in Germany and M. Scaraggi from the Polytechnic of Bari in Italy examined the flow of liquid at the contact between randomly rough surfaces. The contact interface looks like a labyrinth with vertically narrow void channels intersecting randomly. This causes channels to be either filled with water or not when in wet conditions.

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